Wikitravel recommends using the local variant of English for all destination articles. This means:
- Australia: use Australian English spelling
- Canada: use Canadian English spelling
- New Zealand: use New Zealand English
- The European Union has English (as used in Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom) as one of its 24 official languages and this variety is understood by 51% of adults in the EU.
- Commonwealth countries also use this Commonwealth English spelling. This includes all of South Asia as well as most of Southeast Asia and Africa that had a British, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish colonial connection but excludes Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan (see our English language varieties article for details)
- Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and United States articles all use US English spelling.
Don't worry if you're not familiar or comfortable with the local English variant of a destination article: just write in the style you're accustomed to and somebody will probably come along later and correct it - that's one of the benefits of wiki editing!
If the article concerns a destination that has no history of using English and no clear preference for the variety to use, we prefer US English spelling if you're starting a new destination article. This isn't because US English is somehow better (although US spelling usually is shorter) or to stomp on the rights, heritage, and cultures of other English-speaking countries. We just decided to pick one default spelling style for consistency in new articles. If it's an existing article that already has consistent spelling using one variety, then please don't arbitrarily change it to another spelling variety without discussion.
Many of our non-destination articles were written in Commonwealth English and should not be arbitrarily changed to the US variety.
Usually it's not a good use of your time to go right through an article to standardis(z)e the spelling unless preparing for a star nomination or for off-line publishing. If you are preparing to do this for any destination outside of the regions listed above, it's best to first discuss which variant you are going to use on the article's discussion page.
Reference guides for US English spelling:
- Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Wiley Hoboken, N.J.
- Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.
A useful, free dictionary for checking the Commonwealth variety of English on-line:
- National Geographic Atlas of the World, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC
- CIA World Factbook
Where appropriate, try and use a commonly understood word or phrase in preference to one that has a different meaning because of national differences.
For example, instead of writing "Peter tabled his nomination"
(which will be understood as "...withdrew his nomination" in the USA but as the exact opposite in much of the English speaking world), write "Peter withdrew his nomination" so that the phrase will be universally understood.
(In Commonwealth English, one tables a nomination if one wishes to propose not withdraw a nomination!)
Occasionally proper names do not follow local spelling conventions. These words should not be changed -- the proper name should not be mangled to conform to Wikitravel's spelling rules:
- Joaquin Miller's home, "The Hights", rests on the heights of the Oakland hills.
It can be helpful to other editors to use an HTML comment to mark incorrect spellings which are preserved in proper names:
* Joaquin Miller's home, "''The Hights''"<!-- sic -->, rests on the heights of the Oakland hills.
Plural forms should not have apostrophes (unless the result of applying this rule is confusing).
- "1900s" not "1900's"
- "avocados and pears" not "avocado's and pear's"